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 A view from the Aemilian Bridge

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PostSubject: Re: A view from the Aemilian Bridge   Wed Aug 20, 2008 12:23 am

I found myself thinking about Tiro today, and his efforts to keep up with Cicero's verbal eloquence using his wax tablets and his self-invented shorthand system.

He would have killed for a stenograph machine.

Anyone know what the standard writing materials were like ? Paper and pens I mean.
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PostSubject: Re: A view from the Aemilian Bridge   Wed Aug 20, 2008 2:12 am

I was also wondering if the world would be different now if Cicero had accepted Crassus' offer, or somehow managed to neutralise Caesar.

Well it would be quite different I'm sure, but how much.
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PostSubject: Re: A view from the Aemilian Bridge   Wed Aug 20, 2008 5:30 pm

EvotingMachine0197 wrote:


Anyone know what the standard writing materials were like ? Paper and pens I mean.

Wax tablets in wooden frames, styli, rolls of papyri and a round case to store up to about 9 rolls were the main materials. The great thing about wax tablets is that they can be reused like blackboards. You write with the sharp end of a stylus and scratch out the script with the flat end when you need more space. These are pics of them...



Stylus.



Wax tablet.



A Roman capsa which would've been used by Tiro to store Cicero's astonishing verbiage.
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PostSubject: Re: A view from the Aemilian Bridge   Wed Aug 20, 2008 10:13 pm

Here is a map of Rome with some of its landmarks indicated...

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PostSubject: Re: A view from the Aemilian Bridge   Wed Aug 20, 2008 10:27 pm

The Colosseum was never known as that in Roman times either. It's a common misconception.
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PostSubject: Re: A view from the Aemilian Bridge   Wed Aug 20, 2008 10:45 pm

Here's the family tree of my favourite Roman Emperor...

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PostSubject: Re: A view from the Aemilian Bridge   Wed Aug 20, 2008 11:02 pm

This map would approximate the area occupied by the Roman Republic at the time of Cicero...

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PostSubject: Re: A view from the Aemilian Bridge   Wed Aug 20, 2008 11:06 pm

Ard-Taoiseach wrote:
Here is a map of Rome with some of its landmarks indicated...


THe first day I was ever in Rome I had the day to myself and I walked up and down all those little hills.
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PostSubject: Re: A view from the Aemilian Bridge   Thu Aug 21, 2008 12:20 am

Ard-Taoiseach wrote:
The Colosseum was never known as that in Roman times either. It's a common misconception.

The Flavian amphitheatre. I think it's time for one of Ard-Taoiseach's patented quizes. *gets pen and paper ready*
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PostSubject: Re: A view from the Aemilian Bridge   Thu Aug 21, 2008 2:44 am

riadach wrote:
Ard-Taoiseach wrote:
The Colosseum was never known as that in Roman times either. It's a common misconception.

The Flavian amphitheatre. I think it's time for one of Ard-Taoiseach's patented quizes. *gets pen and paper ready*

riadach, I'm glad you mentioned that. I think I shall begin a series of Ancient Roman Quizzes. Speaking of which I must resurrect the Star Trek quizzes as well. I'll have to think of Roman-themed prizes as well...*disappears into a wistful reverie*
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PostSubject: Re: A view from the Aemilian Bridge   Thu Aug 21, 2008 3:00 am

How's Imperium going, EVM? I'd say you're well through the middle section now. I'm delighted you're reading it because I enjoyed it so much when I first got into it. It's a proper thriller and Conspiracy should be equally crackling with dramatic intensity.
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PostSubject: Re: A view from the Aemilian Bridge   Thu Aug 21, 2008 3:14 am

riadach's idea of a Roman quiz is excellent. I have Google Images open and the results are firing off question ideas in my mind. I'll have to sketch out a draft tonight of a quiz. This'll be great! alien
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PostSubject: Re: A view from the Aemilian Bridge   Thu Aug 21, 2008 12:14 pm

Ard-Taoiseach wrote:
How's Imperium going, EVM? I'd say you're well through the middle section now. I'm delighted you're reading it because I enjoyed it so much when I first got into it. It's a proper thriller and Conspiracy should be equally crackling with dramatic intensity.

It's superb. I'm at the point where Terentia is pregnant, Cicero is a happy camper advocating for lads all over the place, while pursueing his goal of election to Consul. There is a sense of tension about it though.
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PostSubject: Re: A view from the Aemilian Bridge   Fri Aug 22, 2008 12:46 am

EvotingMachine0197 wrote:
Ard-Taoiseach wrote:
How's Imperium going, EVM? I'd say you're well through the middle section now. I'm delighted you're reading it because I enjoyed it so much when I first got into it. It's a proper thriller and Conspiracy should be equally crackling with dramatic intensity.

It's superb. I'm at the point where Terentia is pregnant, Cicero is a happy camper advocating for lads all over the place, while pursueing his goal of election to Consul. There is a sense of tension about it though.

Good stuff. That part of the book is very tense. Did you get hardback or paperback? I have the hardback since I obtained it just weeks after publication.

Also, I am now going to post a Roman quiz thread. At my signal, unleash hell! Very Happy
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PostSubject: Re: A view from the Aemilian Bridge   Mon Aug 25, 2008 3:24 pm

Managed to borrow a copy of Rubicon by Tom Holland.



So I'll lash straight into that after Imperium.
Has anyone read it ?
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PostSubject: Re: A view from the Aemilian Bridge   Mon Aug 25, 2008 5:16 pm

EvotingMachine0197 wrote:
Managed to borrow a copy of Rubicon by Tom Holland.



So I'll lash straight into that after Imperium.
Has anyone read it ?

An excellent choice EVM, I've read that about 6 times since I got it as a birthday present 2 years ago. It is a forensic account of the late Republican/Early Imperial Period. It takes you from the 2nd century BC to the early 1st century AD. Tom Holland is a fantastic writer loading enough historical detail onto the page to make it worthwhile while keeping the prose sufficiently fluid that you are not bored or deterred by scholarly impenetrability.

As an aside, I also recommend Persian Fire by Tom Holland. It is an equally thrilling exploration of the rise of Persia to the time of Alexander. It examines in fantastic detail the cataclysmic struggle of the rocky statelets of Greece with the hulking superpower of Persia.

You'll definitely be winning my Roman quizzes having read Rubicon, one of which I am about to launch.
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PostSubject: Re: A view from the Aemilian Bridge   Tue Aug 26, 2008 5:17 pm

6 times ? Shocked You really are a fan.

I'm thinking of going to Sicily to study rhetoric. What do you think ?
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PostSubject: Re: A view from the Aemilian Bridge   Tue Aug 26, 2008 7:35 pm

EvotingMachine0197 wrote:
6 times ? Shocked You really are a fan.

Well, it's one of those books on the shelves beside my bed and, when truly at a loss at what I should read, I tend to just take it down and read some chapters. It's very well written so I just breeze through it.

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I'm thinking of going to Sicily to study rhetoric. What do you think ?

Sicily? That sounds good. Who will your teacher be?
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PostSubject: Re: A view from the Aemilian Bridge   Wed Aug 27, 2008 3:02 am

Well, Ard-T, I know only what your average layman knows about Rome, but I guess I'll now have to take Imperium with me on holidays in a few days time. Bought it in a 3-for-the-price-of-1 in WH Smith recently, but had planned to stay with matters Indian for holiday reading (The Siege of Krishnapur and Midnight's Children).

How are you on Greek history? I couldn't resist buying a beautiful hardback Everymans Library edition of Herodotus' The Histories the other day - have wanted to read it for ages, but was never attracted by the editions I had seen. This one is lovely looking. Maybe a bit dangerous to take on holiday - sun cream etc No.
But just wondered how you are on the rest of the Ancient World ...

I also couldn't resist the latest edition of National Geographic - "Ancient Iran - Inside a Nation's Persian Soul" - 905 take note!!

... it goes without saying that I shall visit the Hadrian exhibition in the British Museum when I get back.
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PostSubject: Re: A view from the Aemilian Bridge   Wed Aug 27, 2008 3:23 am

Have you read any of the Greek stuff before Atticus? Your name suggests you might Smile

I studied philosophy and should have read a lot more of the greek things but only got around to some of Plato's and Socrates' stuff. I'd like to get into this Rome and Greece stuff now too I think - I have the Rubicon book only to start it. I also have the TV series of Rome ...

I read Midnight's Children and couldn't get into it properly at all - Magic Realism genre it is and I don't know if I would have finished it only I had a very boring bus journey every morning. I still have A Suitable Boy propping up one corner of my caravan here in Clare - it's good for that. (I find The Buddha of Suburbia author Hanif Kureishi very good of what I read)
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PostSubject: Re: A view from the Aemilian Bridge   Wed Aug 27, 2008 3:28 am

Hmm, yeah, "A Suitable Boy" is the equivalent of about 3 bricks, isn't it?!
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PostSubject: Re: A view from the Aemilian Bridge   Wed Aug 27, 2008 3:34 am

In answer to your original question, the answer is no - went to a secondary school (loonng time ago) where they very much pushed (then) "modern" subjects like German and Physics/Chemistry.

But i was always interested. I almost joined the first ever Anthropology course in Ireland which, if I remember, was started by a female American academic in Maynooth. Went modern instead. But have always been very interested in Ancient history and, specifically, the development of languages.
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PostSubject: Re: A view from the Aemilian Bridge   Wed Aug 27, 2008 3:38 am

What is Anthropology really? Is it a number of disciplines - history, culture, biology (?) etc. - a multidisciplinary/comparative subject ? That one was a mystery to me. I'd say it might also take in economics ...
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PostSubject: Re: A view from the Aemilian Bridge   Wed Aug 27, 2008 6:13 pm

Atticus wrote:
Well, Ard-T, I know only what your average layman knows about Rome, but I guess I'll now have to take Imperium with me on holidays in a few days time. Bought it in a 3-for-the-price-of-1 in WH Smith recently, but had planned to stay with matters Indian for holiday reading (The Siege of Krishnapur and Midnight's Children).

A fine selection Atticus.

Quote :
How are you on Greek history? I couldn't resist buying a beautiful hardback Everymans Library edition of Herodotus' The Histories the other day - have wanted to read it for ages, but was never attracted by the editions I had seen. This one is lovely looking. Maybe a bit dangerous to take on holiday - sun cream etc No.
But just wondered how you are on the rest of the Ancient World ...

Well I've read Persian Fire by Tom Holland which recounts the wars against the Persians by the Greeks and I've also read The Classical World by Robin Lane Fox which is a panoramic account charting the period from Homer to Emperor Constantine.

Quote :
I also couldn't resist the latest edition of National Geographic - "Ancient Iran - Inside a Nation's Persian Soul" - 905 take note!!

... it goes without saying that I shall visit the Hadrian exhibition in the British Museum when I get back.

Will you post up any pics you take while there? I'm seriously contemplating going back to London to have a gawk at the Spaniard!
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PostSubject: Re: A view from the Aemilian Bridge   Mon Sep 01, 2008 2:24 pm

I finished Imperium last Tuesday and am now well and truly stuck into Rubicon. I love this narrative style of history telling. I can't believe the King of Pergamum just handed over the kingdom to Rome like that. This seems to have been the single event which brought about the Publicani.
So far I can't help comparing Rome in 150BC to Ireland in 2008. Not hugely dissimilar, in terms of greed, profiteering and snobbishness.
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